First African-American president elected at historic Pastors Conference

The 2017 Pastors Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention on June 11–12 was historic for a couple reasons.

First was the fact that this year’s lineup of speakers consisted of 12 pastors of smaller to average-size churches.

Preaching through the book of Philippians and focusing on the theme “Above Every Name,” pastors spoke on issues such as dependence on Christ, maintaining hope and joy through adversity, finding identity in Christ, obedience, Christian unity and beholding Christ’s name and example.

Second was the election of the conference’s first-ever African-American president for the 2018 Pastors Conference.

In nominating H.B. Charles Jr. for the position, Pastor Ken Whitten of Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, Florida, said, “I want to be real clear about this — I’m not nominating H.B. Charles because of the color of his skin. I’m suggesting that he be the conference president because of the character of his soul and the convictions of his spirit.”

Charles is pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida.

Also elected was Steve Swofford, pastor of First Baptist Church, Farmersville, Texas, as vice president. Since there were no nominees for secretary, Charles will appoint one.

Modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty led worship during the conference.

The conference came to an emotional end as conference leaders gathered in prayer around Shane Hall, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Oklahoma, who suffers from the relapse of an incurable strain of stomach cancer. (BP)